Blue Moon and Calliope

Two Townsville performing groups with overlapping membership and instrumentation, 1990s to 2010. The Telemann Ensemble overlapped with both of them, and all three were closely associated with the North Queensland Recorder Society.

Blue Moon

Blue Moon came together around 1992 as a group of Townsville recorder players who enjoyed playing jazz as much as the ‘serious’ recorder repertoire. The ensemble consisted of as many as ten recorders of all sizes from the tiny sopranino to the metre-long bass, with cello, guitar and (when appropriate) piano and percussion and was led by Malcolm Tattersall.

Their first public performance as Blue Moon was a jazz program for Townsville Community Music Centre in 1995. The group presented several concerts in Townsville every year from then to 2003. Listen to them playing an extract from Alien Landscape II (mp3, 210 KB) in a 1998 concert at James Cook University.

Blue Moon was quieter in 2004, partly because Calliope was more active, and has not met since then.


Calliope emerged in 2000 from a larger group, Townsville Youth Recorder Ensemble, taught by Malcolm Tattersall through the North Queensland Recorder Society.

As a trio of secondary-school-aged recorder students (Daniel Cocks, Wade Tattersall and Joanne Coleman), Calliope was very successful in the School Ensembles competitions conducted annually by the Australian Festival of Chamber Music and by the North Queensland Concerto and Vocal Competition; it also presented concerts through the Townsville Community Music Centre and featured on the CD ‘Music for Reflection’ produced in 2002. Listen to them playing an extract from Moreton Bay (mp3, 230 KB) here.

When Joanne left to further her interests in dance and drama, Calliope performed in 2004 as a recorder trio or quartet, with founding members Daniel and Wade joined by Kirsty Wharton, Malcolm Tattersall or both, until Kirsty in turn left for Brisbane and the group became a trio again. Its members played baroque chamber music together regularly in The Telemann Ensemble at the same time but valued the opportunity to explore a wider variety of styles including jazz, world music and modern classical music as Calliope.

Calliope presented a twilight concert for Townsville Community Music Centre in March 2008 and followed it immediately with incidental music for Guards! Guards!, a Discworld play by Terry Pratchett put on by Townsville Little Theatre. The highlight of 2010, and perhaps their last major concert, was A Breath of Australian Air with Rod Waterman and Gucki Reissenberger.

In November 2010 Daniel left Townsville for at least two years in Germany, marking the end of Calliope as an ongoing ensemble. Reunions will be welcomed by all players but are likely to be infrequent.

Enquiries: Malcolm Tattersall

Last updated 2010; moved to this site 220221